Tension Settings: Truly Unique Engagement Rings

By Michael Fried

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Tension settings are sleek, modern rings with a unique system for securing the diamond. Custom-made metal bands hold the diamond with pressure. This white gold tension ring, for example, secures the diamond without prongs or metal surrounding the stone.

Additional tension-style rings exist, which look like tension settings but don’t hold the diamond through suspension. This yellow gold solitaire ring, for instance, has similarities of a tension setting but adds extra security and design with its prongs.

Whether you decide on a full tension ring or a tension style ring, ensure you purchase one from a highly reputable vendor. Throughout our years of experience, we’ve learned that a few select diamond dealers are the most reliable and trustworthy. We recommend Blue NileJames Allen and Brian Gavin Diamonds for the best value and quality.

What is a Tension Setting?

In a tension setting, the tension of the metal band secures the diamond in place. As a result, the diamond appears suspended between the two sides of the shank, like in this rose gold setting.

With the help of lasers to calibrate the exact dimensions of the diamond, the jeweler expertly cuts tiny grooves into the sides of the band or shank, so the diamond is literally held by the pressure of the custom metal band pushing into the sides of the stone.

tension setting

But tension settings go beyond just those that use the suspension to hold the diamond in place. Tension-style settings offer a comparable look but are less expensive and complicated to make.

Curious as to what the difference looks like? This rose gold tension engagement ring uses the suspension to hold the diamond in place, while this princess cut ring has the extra support of four prongs.

The tension-style settings also add an extra dose of security since a prong or bezel setting anchors the stone firmly in place either on the side or underneath the diamond.

Why Choose a Tension Engagement Ring?

Tension settings and tension style rings are popular for engagement rings because they feature a unique design. Whether the diamond is held by suspension or simply looks like it does, it creates immediate appeal and intrigue. Because not much metal surrounds the diamond, like in other settings, the diamonds in tension engagement rings reflect more light, offering more brilliance and sparkle.

Tension style setting

With a modern feel and a custom-made setting, tension engagement rings are special and unique. Whether it’s a princess cut pave ring or a tension engagement ring with bezel support, it’ll be a keepsake for years to come.

Tension Settings for Every Shape

Almost any Diamond Shape can function within a tension setting, but these settings often work best with Round Cut and Princess Cut diamonds. The secure support and modern feel of tension settings make them a stylish choice—no matter the type of precious metal.

Tension engagement ring examples:

Pros and Cons of a Tension Setting

Every setting style has its advantages and disadvantages. Because the tension setting is a unique design, review the pros and cons before making your final decision.

Pros 

  • Holds the diamond securely in place
  • Enhances light reflection (brilliance and fire), due to minimal metal surrounding the diamond
  • Offers a unique appearance
  • Involves less maintenance than prong settings
  • Features a modern, stylish look

Cons 

  • Often expensive and difficult to resize
  • May cause a small Carat weight diamond to appear smaller, especially when thick metal is used
  • Although highly unlikely, there’s a possibility the stone could become loose if an extreme pressure from an outside force strikes a tension setting

Where to Buy Tension Diamond Engagement Rings

Because your tension engagement ring will be custom-made, it’s essential that you choose a highly reputable vendor. Your tension setting should be made with the utmost care, ensuring that your diamond is secure.

Contoured 14 k white gold with twist tension set engagement diamond

Luckily, there are several vendors that offer trustworthy craftsmanship and care for tension settings. Throughout our years of experience, we’ve vetted several diamond vendors.

The dealers we list below are the most reliable in the business. They offer extensive collections of diamond rings and settings at excellent prices. All diamonds come with an AGS or GIA certificate—allowing you to trust what they’re selling you.

If you have questions about these vendors, send us an email.

James Allen

James Allen carries a large inventory of tension style rings and other settings as well. They’re known for their excellent customer service and their incredible diamond imagery. You can view each diamond up-close before making your purchase.

Brian Gavin Diamonds

Brian Gavin offers a range of custom engagement rings, including unique tension styles. With their “Brian Gavin Signature” Hearts & Arrows collection, they feature some of the best cut diamonds in the world.

Blue Nile

Blue Nile maintains the largest online inventory of diamonds and settings, giving you a superb selection for your engagement ring. They’re known for remarkable diamonds and high-quality jewelry settings.

Leibish & Co. (Gemstone Alternative)

Looking for a colorful alternative to a diamond? Consider the rings at Leibish & Co.. They offer tension settings for colored diamonds and colored gemstones. Leibish designs all of their jewelry and rings with high-quality settings.

Evaluating a Diamond Ring for Beauty and Value

At Diamond Pro, our goal is to help you find the most stunning diamond at the best price. Our library of Diamond Pro resources can help you make a well-informed decision on your engagement ring purchase.

  • Diamond Cut: The characteristic that most greatly impacts a diamond’s beauty and brilliance is its Cut. For this reason, we highly recommend choosing only Excellent or Ideal diamonds.
  • Diamond Shape: Review our Diamond Shape guide to decide which shape matches your fiancé-to-be’s style and personality.
  • Diamond Clarity: Our main recommendation is to find a diamond that’s eye clean. Your diamond doesn’t need to be flawless when under magnification, so be sure to review your diamond closely with your own eyes. Blemishes and inclusions can’t often be seen by the naked eye at a VS1 or VS2 Clarity grade. While you can pay more for a higher Clarity grade, it’s likely to go unnoticed.
  • Diamond Color: Ultimately, make sure your diamond appears white in relation to its setting color. A diamond in the G to I range will appear colorless and cost far less than a diamond in the D to F range.

Want guidance on selecting a diamond? Email our experts.

About the author
Mike learned the diamond business from the ground-up at Leo Schachter Diamonds - one of the world's top diamond manufacturers. He has been recognized as a diamond industry expert by Time, PeopleMoney, The Daily Mirror, NerdWallet, The Times Herald, Yahoo Finance Australia, The Art of Charm, The Washington Diplomat, The Next Web, and more. See more
Top Recommended Vendors
Blue Nile Blue Nile is the largest and most well known internet jewelry seller. They have the industry-leading largest available exclusive online inventory. Their high quality images are catching up to James Allens' and their prices are amazing. Exclusive to us for the 2018 Christmas shopping season - Pick Up a single-use Blue Nile Coupon Here for $100 off!
What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. Blue Nile will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisal
  • One free resizing within the first year of purchase
  • High quality images of about half of their diamonds
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • 100% credit towards future upgrades (must be at least double in value)
  • Best in class fulfillment

James Allen James Allen is the leader in online diamond sales. Their imaging technology is at the point where it's almost the same as inspecting a diamond with a jeweler's loupe. Their customer experience is best in class, and they have recently upgraded their non-engagement jewelry inventory as well. Take advantage of their ongoing 25% Off Holiday Sale.
What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. James Allen will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free International Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisals
  • One free resizing within 60 days of purchase
  • Free ring inscriptions
  • Best-in-class high quality imagery of all diamonds in stock
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • Best-in-class packaging

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